Five Ashes Village Hall committee has won a Big Lottery Grant of £455,000 to pay for improvements and extensions.
Geoff Gregory, chairman said: “Under the Reaching Communities programme the grant will enable significantly better facilities to be made available which in turn will attract a wider range of user groups to help sustain the provision in the village.
“This is the culmination of two years of writing, editing and proof reading, sharing disappointment and ultimately success.”
The move towards replacing the hall - built in the 1960s - started in 1999 when the then committee agreed significant investment was needed.
In 2004 a bid was submitted to the National Lottery for money to build a new hall next to the existing one on the sports field.
In spite of energy and fundraising, this was unsuccessful but Geoff said a significant legacy for subsequent committees to assess how to preserve the ailing hall.
In 2008 the committee decided that the funds would be partly committed improve the main hall. Competitive prices were obtained and doubled glazed units installed. In 2010 a further Lottery bid was submitted in three stages – at stage two an award of £9,000 was made towards preparing the business plan, finalising design, getting approvals, pricing and getting ready to build. The final application needed a capital project delivery plan to show the project would be ready to start within six months of a final award.
A business plan with financial forecast, risk analysis plus accounts and organisational policies was submitted.
The project aims to provide new general purpose space extension to the hall. An substandard structure will be demolished, a new single storey built and layout, facilities and thermal efficiency of the existing building improved. The new hall area enables lots of activities to take place and improved access to the playing field provides space for separate changing areas for teams.